By Paul Rachwal
Tuesday, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 3:14 pm
 
BMW on Tuesday announced a new Project i unit that will work independently of BMW and whose mission it will be to produce low-emission city cars, similar to the Smart Fortwo. Norbert Reithofer, BMW CEO, said Project i will deal with meeting strict emissions requirements that would allow its cars free access into busy towns and cities, such as the downtown core in London, UK. Reithofer went on to say a fourth brand could be in the cards, if the product doesn't fit under any of BMW's current brands. Could this lead to an Isetta revival?



"We must define what type of vehicles we will produce then we will ask the question if those concepts fit better with the BMW brand, the Mini brand or a sub brand within those two," Reithofer said. "If none of these options are possible then perhaps we will have a fourth brand." Project i is expected to produce a city car early into the next decade, with a decision on whether BMW will build an electric car for the US market coming this year, according to Auto Motor und Sport.

BMW sold 1,400 cars in India last year, and wants to increase that number to 3,000 in 2008 and it stands to reason a new micro-car would enter new markets such as Indi's, where it would be a costlier alternative to Tat's Nano.